Running event returns to Seal Bay in Comox Valley

File photo from Seal Bay Park.

File photo from Seal Bay Park.

A trail running event in Seal Bay is set to return Sunday, Jan. 30 after being sidelined for two years due to the COVID pandemic.

The event is called the Seal Bay Winter Half Marathon and Half Half Marathon, which provides an option to run one or two loops of the iconic trail.

During a training run several years ago, organizers Kerry Hale and Bruce Grant decided to offer a free, grassroots half marathon on local trails to motivate runners to keep logging miles through the winter months. This is the third running of the event, which started in 2018. This year, they have added a single loop 10-kilometre option to include more participants.

“These trails are fantastic, and it’s a great way to get people out running in a semi-organized way in the fresh winter air,” said Hale, a triathlete from Comox. “That we are partnering up this year with a local organization (Dawn to Dawn Action on Homelessness Society) that helps people in need is just wonderful. It’s a fun day where athletes can push themselves hard against the clock, or just cruise the course with a few friends and lots of smiles.”

The run will begin at the new Bates Road carpark facility at 9:30 a.m. There will be a short briefing before it begins.

There is no registration or race fee. Instead, organizers are asking for donations of gently used winter clothes such as jackets or gloves, or a small amount of money to Dawn to Dawn (D2D). There will be a box set-up for cash donations.

“A donation of clothing or supporting Coldest Night of the Year (walking event) is a demonstration of solidarity with the plight of the unhoused,” said Grant Shilling, D2D outreach worker. “We are all in this together.”

Coffee and hot chocolate will be available, free of charge. Runners are asked to be self-sufficient with their needs, though there will be water and electrolyte drink powder on offer.

Trails will be marked with sawdust on the eve of the run. The main trail is a little over 10k with a few twists, turns and roots, and slight elevation gain. Trail running shoes are recommended, but regular running shoes are fine as long as there isn’t snow or ice. Be prepared for cold weather.

“Bring a friend, and come and enjoy the good energy of the Seal Bay trail network with like-minded people,” Hale said. “Race hard or just cruise along at your own pace, and at the same time help out with the great work that Dawn to Dawn does here in the Valley.”

Comox Valley Regional Districtrunning

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